Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Kensington Arts Theatre Second Stage Pippin

By • Sep 7th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Kensington Arts Theatre Second Stage’s production of Pippin [MP3 2:51 2.6MB].

Kensington Arts Theatre Second Stage
Gaithersburg Arts Barn, Gaithersburg, MD
$16/$14 Gaithersburg residents
Through September 21st

We saw the opening night performance of the Kensington Arts Theatre Second Stage production of Pippin performed at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Pippin is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, with book by Rodger O. Hirson. Pippin is the story of Charlemagne’s son, Pippin, who has graduated from Padua, the university, and isn’t sure what to do with his life. He just knows he has something unique and special that he was meant to do. So we follow him on his adventures through war, love, sex, arts, religion, and relationships where he tries to find out what his life is supposed to be about.

Pippin is a very popular production, partially because it allows for a lot of creativity by the design team, as well as for its memorable songs and music. KAT’s simple production in the limited space of the Gaithersburg Arts Barn kept to the basic script with a small cast. The scene where Pippin “frolics” was tastefully done. The choreography by Rikki Howie was straightforward. The backdrop had three doorways allowing the cast easy access to the stage. The center doorway featured different curtains that were pulled into place to set the scene, as well as allowing for larger set pieces to be moved on stage. The show’s director, Darnell Morris, also designed the set.

Sam Ludwig‘s Pippin was eager and at first sure of himself. As the show moved forward, he became more and more confused, and Ludwig was successful in expressing Pippin’s doubts. His reactions to his father’s (King Charles, played by Danny Pushkin) suggestions and stepmother’s (Fastrada, played by Rachel Saltzman) plotting were believable.

The opening scene did not set the mood of watching a performance by a troupe. This made a difference in the second act, when Catherine started to improv her lines, and the Leading Players’ corrections were distracting. The Leading Player, Morgan Fannon, was striking, with a powerful voice. All of the Players had smooth movements and had a mysterious air about them.

Beth Rothschild played the role of Catherine, Pippin’s rescuer. Rothschild’s Catherine was mature and world-weary. Her reactions to Pippin and her approach to life seemed down to earth and practical. Unfortunately, the scenes taking place in “The Hearth” seemed a bit rushed, and the audience couldn’t connect to the relationship that was growing onstage.

Pippin is playing through September 21, Friday and Saturdays at 8 and Sunday matinees at 2 PM at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Once you’ve seen the show please feel free to leave a comment on our website at Showbiz We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with community theatre happenings in the DC metro region.

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  • Pippin: Sam Ludwig
  • Leading Player: Morgan Fannon
  • Charles: Danny Pushkin
  • Fastrada: Rachel Saltzman
  • Lewis: David Weiner
  • Catherine: Beth Rothschild
  • Theo: Josephine Moore
  • Berthe: Renee Rabben
  • Players: Wilkins Ventura, Esther Oakley, Rachel Meloan


  • Director: Darnell Moore
  • Co-Producers: Darnell Morris and Brian Campbell
  • Assistant Director: Sarah Lasko
  • KAT 2nd Stage Executive Producer: Donna Jean Garrett
  • Music Director: Shira Yasur
  • Choreographer: Rikki Howie
  • Stage Manager/Sound Board Operator: Elizabeth Moore
  • Lighting Designer: Ben Levine
  • Light Board Operator: Nancy Ostrove
  • Sound Design: Zachary Lasko
  • Set Designer: Darnell Morris
  • Scenic Charge Artist: Caitlin Furman
  • Set Construction: Darnell Morris, Celia Blitzer, Morgan Fannon, Eleanor Dicks
  • Hair and Make-up Design: Rachel Saltzman, Morgan Fannon
  • Dance Captain: David Weiner
  • Rehearsal Accompanist Mary Brozina Wierick
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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